Police commissioner cuts short interview to chase thief

UK’s most senior police officer jumps into taxi to pursue suspect who stole money from driver


The UK’s most senior police officer broke off from a radio interview to make an arrest today.

Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe jumped into a taxi to pursue a suspect after the driver complained his passengers refused to pay the fare and had stolen cash from him.

Sir Bernard, who was taking part in a pre-recorded interview with BBC London 94.9 Drivetime presenter Eddie Nestor near Bruce Grove station in Tottenham, north London, joined the chase first in the minicab and later in a squad car.

He went on to apprehend a teenager, Scotland Yard said.

In a recording of the interview, Sir Bernard can be heard asking the driver if he knows where the suspect is, adding: “I’m going to go with you.”

His force said in a tweet: “Commissioner Hogan-Howe arrested a 19yo man on suspicion of theft this morning after being flagged down by local taxi driver.”

The driver, who gave his name as Mohammed, told the BBC a passenger took £20 (€25) from his dashboard before running away.

He said: “When I see the police, I ask the police ‘please can you stop the guys?”

He said he was not aware who the officer who came to his aid was, but described him as a “very good, very kind” man.

It is not the first time Sir Bernard has gone back to his “bobby” roots.

In 2006, when he was chief constable of Merseyside Police, he chased and arrested a suspected drink-driver in Liverpool.

It means Sir Bernard has made an arrest in every rank he has held since becoming an officer in 1979, Scotland Yard said.

After the pursuit, the commissioner told the BBC: “The important thing for today, at least for me, is that I have made an arrest at every rank as a police officer, so as chief constable at Merseyside, but never as commissioner, and I have been here three years — that’s very slack, it’s a disgrace, but today we have put it right.”

A Met Police statement said the commissioner was recording an interview at around 11.20am when the minicab stopped and the driver asked for help.

It said: “Four males were seen to jump out of the vehicle and run off, closely followed by an officer who was with the commissioner.

“A 17-year old youth was arrested inside Bruce Grove Rail Station on suspicion of theft, handling and making off without payment.

“Descriptions were circulated and the commissioner got into a police car which arrived at the scene and went to look for the outstanding suspects.

“In nearby Napier Road, N1, one of the suspects, a 19-year old man, was seen and arrested on suspicion of theft and making off without payment.”

A spokesman confirmed the commissioner had initially got into the taxi before continuing the pursuit in a police vehicle.

The two suspects are currently being held in police stations in north London.